> jumping into life.

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My parents tell me of rain, storms that build offshore and spill onto land, blurring the boundary between liquid and solid, sea and stone. A front that blankets the coast.

Last winter, the coastal storms bullied their way over the mountains most every time; my mother would call to say that Ocean View Boulevard was closed again, trees were down again, the basement was flooded again, and like clockwork I would wake the next morning to boiling clouds. Rain at first, and later snow. I would wake to a land made new.

In October I dreamt that no rains came this year. I dreamt fire and death, and woke myself, shivering.

There is still water in Butte Creek, but not much. My skin feels fragile and thin in this air: Phoenix is pushing 150 days without measurable precipitation, and here in the mountains we've had only that one snow to break the same streak. My lips crack and bleed, my knuckles scale and flake away. In the morning, my eyes refuse to gum open. My heart hurts. I hold tight to the knowledge that we are but small and shortsighted. Even if my oaks die, life goes on: this used to be fir forest, and in the Great Basin cheetahs gave the pronghorn reason for their speed. Pines stretched all the way to Tucson. Perhaps the conifers are preparing for a comeback; perhaps the rains will come. The sea has been restless, and the sky today was grey. My mother tells me of rain.

As the frenzy of the past week wears off, I find my heart weary. He has not spoken to me in some twenty days, except when decency demands it. It is a drought not quenched with patience, nor lessened by the knowledge that my decision was the right one. It is the past now that feels uncertain; it seems so unlikely that only a month ago I had plans that stretched far into the future with this man. They resemble my life of this moment no more than the Mojave of today looks like it did when giant sloths ambled around its lakes. Oh, the topography is broadly familiar, but the all the relevant details have changed: climate and community and desire. So we evolve, shed our leaves or whittle them to sleek efficiency, learn to hold what we need inside. Crack and bleed. Joshua trees have been here a long time. Life goes on.